Law Enforcement is easily a polarizing topic in any conversation. In fact, it makes great entertainment thanks to films and shows such as “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”, ”The Wire”, “True Detective”, “Luther”, “Sherlock Holmes”, and so many others. However, success in Hollywood comes with an implicit bias that also influences local media. Because of this, the local communities must deal with the sensationalism as crime stories spread across the nation in the evening news or Facebook feed. These stories highlight the need to address the disparities of cultural competency and the missing alliance in the community.
And while communities across the nation conduct outreach programs to develop relationships and provide a forum for discussions, the National Law Enforcement Museum in Judiciary Square is one unique local resource. The first of its kind, the museum opened in October 2018 to introduce the many facets of American law enforcement. The museum’s mission is “dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement by providing visitors a “walk in the shoes” experience.”
A Look Inside
The National Law Enforcement Museum is also “working to expand and enrich the relationship shared by law enforcement and the community through educational journeys, immersive exhibitions, and insightful programs.”
For example, the “Take the Case” exhibit shows different forensic techniques that detectives use to solve crimes. There is also the “Five Communities” exhibit, where communities around the nation are showcased to highlight police relations.
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In our 'Five Communities' exhibit, we ask visitors from around the country what community policing is like in their neighborhoods. Everyone is invited to place their honest responses close to their hometown on this map. Some cards commend officers trying to get to know the people in their community. Others talk about officers reaching out to students through their schools. What would your card say?
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Behind The Scenes
It’s true that crime stories get Hollywood fame, but inside the walls of the National Law Enforcement Museum are untold and behind the scenes stories of those who captured those notorious criminals. There’s something to see from television show artifacts to archived law enforcement equipment. The museum has curated over 20,000 objects and artifacts to view and 100 interactive elements for hands-on learning.
Visitors of the National Law Enforcement Museum will have a chance to put their crime-solving skills to the test with a fun new activity with a generous reward. A mystery case file is handed to all visitors upon entering the museum. Using the collection of artifacts, visitors will have an opportunity to win $25,000 at the end of the 10-week experience by uncovering the identities of the Queen of Diamonds and her crew.
The Queen of Diamonds is the first Crimes (Un)Cased puzzle to be unveiled and will run through October 6, 2019. The museum hopes to launch new cases for visitors to crack throughout 2020. For more details or to buy tickets to the museum to crack the case yourself or with a group of friends and family, visit the new website for this immersive experience at www.crimesuncased.com.
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Gigi Smith is the chief editor of DC Life Magazine, a publication specializing in cultural diversity for social change in the nation's capital.